Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), based in Plainfield, Indiana, is a Muslim umbrella group. It has been described in the media as the...
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), based in Plainfield, Indiana, is a Muslim umbrella group. It has been described in the media as the largest Muslim organization in North America.
ISNA traces its origins to a meeting of several Muslim student organizations in 1963, at which the Muslim Student Association of the U.S. & Canada ("The MSA") was formed in January 1963. ISNA regards the MSA's 1963 convention as its first one, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Present-day ISNA was founded in 1982 through a joint effort of four organizations: The Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada (The MSA), Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), and the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE) - to create a community-oriented organization due to the changing nature of the growing Muslim community.
Many of the leaders of these four founding organizations took leadership roles in the newly formed ISNA. In 1983, ISNA completed a $21 million headquarters complex in suburban Indianapolis using funds raised in part from international sources. On August 30, 2013, Tahera Ahmad became the first woman to recite the Quran to open the ISNA convention, which she did at the 50th annual ISNA convention in front of a mixed-gender audience.
ISNA's goal is "to be an exemplary and unifying Islamic organization in North America that contributes to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large." Since 1982, ISNA's structure has changed. However, it has been strongly condemned with many critics crying foul of activities. Many argued that ISNA was not as moderate as some ‘would like to believe’.